Pop Culture
Dec 31, 2012, 05:40AM

It's Not You, It's Not Me, It's Us

Reasons to hold fast to an intense, long-lived friendship.

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A.C. Thaymer

When you helped coordinate a surprise birthday party for me, the first ever.

When you made me a mix tape cut like a dub from commercial radio, only with you as the DJ and me as the audience.

When you came over my house and we got drunk, and I passed out, but then you cleaned everything up before you left so my mom wouldn't find out what we'd been up to before she came home from work, given that we were totally underage at that point.
When we christened each other with nicknames.

When we stayed up all night talking without realizing it, more than once.

When I realized that while there weren’t specific moments or events that justified or validated or explained our connection, there was, nonetheless, some irreducible connective tissue joining us at the hip, and that my life would be much diminished without you as part of it.

When you came with me to pick up my mom from the airport.

When we slept in the same room.

When we cooked for one another.

When the encroachment of non-friendship drama proved incapable of killing our vibe.
When your postcards arrived, crammed full of ideas and observations, and letters and greeting cards, and I never discarded them, and held on to old e-mails, and found myself in a setting or situation wishing you could experience it with me, somehow, because it seemed right that you couldn’t.

When I saw you at your lowest ebb, and vice versa, and we figured out how to save one another.

When we walked across town, across a bridge, through dangerous cities.

When we were like, “fuck nicknames.”

When we smiled sleepily and sheepishly at one another.

When we went to all those concerts and watched strangers get brutalized, including that one Yo La Tengo show that was totally epic but then we wandered outside and my stereo was gone.

When we got married and moved far apart but never let go.

When we fought, openly and bitterly, more than once, and somehow made up, even when I was a total dick.

When you painted my fingernails and didn’t laugh at me.
When I hurt you, or you hurt me, with cutting, pointed remarks, the sting of that hurt proved surmountable, on more than one occasion, and in subsequent years we could look back and laugh, and wear that bruising moments as badges of honor, and join arms and saunter merrily and metaphorically into eternity together.

When you bought me a $250 iPod for my birthday, expecting nothing in return.

When you gave me a shout out in the introduction to your novel.

When you supported me, when you were my cheerleader, or muse, or both.

When you selflessly contributed to the expansion of my music consciousness.
When it occurred to me that I could never fully express in words or actions how grateful I am that I got to meet you, and that we’re still friends, and always will be, and that without you I wouldn’t be the person I am today.


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